McConnell Shuts Down Early Dismissal Option for Impeachment Articles, Says Senate Will ‘Have to Have a Trial’

Mairead McArdle

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday shut down an option floated by some Republicans to quickly dismiss articles of impeachment against President Trump, saying he fully expects the matter to go to trial in the Senate.

“I don’t think there’s any question that we have to take up the matter. The rules of impeachment are very clear, we’ll have to have a trial,” McConnell said as the first public impeachment hearing was underway before the House Intelligence Committee.

“My own view is that we should give people the opportunity to put the case on,” he added.

“On the issue of how long it goes on, it’s really kind of up to the Senate. People will have to conclude are they learning something new? At some point we’ll get to an end,” the Kentucky Republican said.

McConnell has previously said he expects the House to quickly send over articles of impeachment that the Senate will then take up.

“Under the impeachment rules of the Senate, we’ll take the matter up,” the Senate majority leader said. “We intend to do our constitutional responsibility.”

Some Senate Republicans who are frequent allies of President Trump have called for a motion to speedily shut down an impeachment trial, a move that would require a simple majority of 51 votes. Senators Lindsey Graham, Rand Paul, David Perdue have all said they back such a motion.

Senator John Cornyn said Wednesday he does not foresee enough senators backing a proposal to dismiss the charges against Trump.

“I think that’s not going to happen,” the former Republican majority whip said.

During the impeachment of President Bill Clinton in 1999, Senate Democrats attempted unsuccessfully to get an expedited dismissal of those articles of impeachment.

The House heard from George Kent, a top State Department official in charge of Ukraine, and William Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine on Wednesday. Former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch is scheduled to testify on Friday, and more witnesses are scheduled to appear in the coming week.

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